Shining a Cleansing Light on China’s Dark Secrets

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New Players, Ideas, and Arrangements: The Quest to Counter-balance China

by Philip Vincent Alegre/ March 16, 2018/ Originally Posted at APPFI

In November of last year, the world witnessed the US put forward new rhetoric in its foreign policy toward Asia. US President Donald Trump, towards the end of his 12-day five nation Asia tour, departed from usual US language and started referring to an “Indo-Pacific” region instead of “Asia Pacific”, a move which did not go unnoticed by analysts and observers in the region. Continue reading “New Players, Ideas, and Arrangements: The Quest to Counter-balance China”

China and a New Type of Global Leadership

by Lucio Blanco Pitlo III /  Originally Posted at China-US Focus / February 8, 2018

“Never forget why you started, and you can accomplish your mission,” President Xi Jinping said during his report to the 19th Communist Party (CPC) Congress last October. This resonates well at a time when China and its external environment are faced with tremendous transition challenges and uncertainties. The success of China’s reform and opening up lends affirmation to its unique syncretic politico-economic model of “socialism with Chinese characteristics.” Xi confidently repeated that sticking to this line, with a few fundamental tweaks, is in China’s best interest. Strong political will, continuity and efficiency brought about by one-party rule ensure speedy and sustained implementation of long term plans and reforms, although not without detrimental effects to the growth of genuine pluralism and democracy. Continue reading “China and a New Type of Global Leadership”

Making China Great Again

By Evan Osnos / January 8, 2018/ The New Yorker

When the Chinese action movie “Wolf Warrior II” arrived in theatres, in July, it looked like a standard shoot-’em-up, with a lonesome hero and frequent explosions. Within two weeks, however, “Wolf Warrior II” had become the highest-grossing Chinese movie of all time. Some crowds gave it standing ovations; others sang the national anthem. In October, China selected it as its official entry in the foreign-language category of the Academy Awards. Continue reading “Making China Great Again”

Will the real China please stand up? A Southeast Asian perspective on China’s growing power and influence

by Aileen S.P. Baviera / (This article originally appeared in Japanese translation in Gaiko (Diplomacy), Vol 46, Nov./Dec. 2017, pp. 43-49) / English version from APPFI

The first five years of Xi Jinping’s rule saw major changes in Chinese policy that have affected its relations with Southeast Asia. With a slowing economy in need of difficult restructuring, a global financial crisis threatening China’s markets and sources of investments, the Communist Party facing issues of legitimacy amidst rampant corruption, and serious environmental problems threatening growth and people’s welfare, Xi set out on a direction that was rather unexpected. He began to assert strong central authority domestically; waged a sustained anti-corruption campaign (that also masked a purge of political rivals); took steps to raise China’s economic, political and military profile abroad; and began to contest some rules of the international order which China had been dissatisfied with. Xi abandoned Deng Xiaoping’s exhortation – obeyed by his predecessors Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao – that China keep to strategic patience, remain low-key, and “bide its time and hide its capacities” (taoguang yanghui韬光养晦 ). Continue reading “Will the real China please stand up? A Southeast Asian perspective on China’s growing power and influence”

US policy challenges in the Asia-Pacific

by Ankit Panda / 31 July 2017 / IISS Voices

Security trends in Asia in the first six months of 2017 appeared to emphasise that challenges first identified in 2016 would persist and intensify for regional states. However, one important new variable was introduced to the mix. The Trump administration has left Asian countries – US allies, partners and adversaries alike – unsure of what to expect. Indeed, a hallmark of the new president’s diplomatic style is embracing unpredictability. In the meantime, threats continue to intensify across the region. Continue reading “US policy challenges in the Asia-Pacific”

The South China Sea seven years on

Author: Michael McDevitt, CNA /  19 July 2017 /  EAF

This month seven years ago at the Hanoi ASEAN Regional Forum, then secretary of state Hillary Clinton made a very public, and — for the Chinese — surprising, intervention into the South China Sea (SCS) disputes. This move implicated Washington in a way that was probably unforeseen in Washington and in the region at the time. Continue reading “The South China Sea seven years on”